In a long-awaited move into the drug supply chain, Amazon is acquiring the online pharmacy PillPack, the two companies announced Thursday. The news rattled the drug-retail business, sending stocks of CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid plunging.
The Boston-based startup PillPack primarily caters to customers who take multiple medications. PillPack streamlines delivery of prescription and over-the-counter medications by pre-sorting them into handy dose packets sent directly to customers’ doors nationwide in monthly supplies. The company boasts that it works with doctors and insurance companies to manage refills and cost coverage on customer’s behalf. To do so, it holds pharmacy licenses in all 50 states, developed proprietary pharmaceutical software, and is an in-network pharmacy with most pharmacy benefit managers, including Medicare Part D plans—features that were likely eye-catchers for Amazon.